TRIVIUM frontman Matt Heafy believes that more could have been done to prevent the recent Astroworld concert tragedy.
Ten people, including a 9-year-old and two teenagers, died while many more were injured after a crowd surge during Travis Scott‘s performance at the Houston music festival. The rapper has since been critized for appearing to keep the show going despite pleas of help from the crowd. Although he paused a few times, many are saying this response was not enough. In the weeks the incident, dozens of lawsuits have been filed and a slew of questions remain unanswered about what went wrong.
Heafy addressed the deadly event in a recent interview with Meltdown of Detroit’s WRIF radio station. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I’ve seen some conversations about, ‘When it’s a festival, you can’t tell [from the stage what’s going on in the crowd].’ My thing is, the vantage point from the [stage] at a festival, you can see pretty much every single thing that’s happening [in the crowd].
“You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do, man. If I ever see a pocket of people looking down, you just have to assume the worst. If someone passed out, you need to stop before people trample that person.
“I can’t speak to what happened at [Astroworld], but reading accounts, reading the fact that this thing went on for a long time with people being… I don’t know if they knew that they were dead or that they knew at least that they were injured. But if you see something going on, just stop — don’t walk offstage,” he continued. “You have so much control.
“I remember seeing accounts, like, ‘Hey, if they would have stopped, it could have gotten worse.’ But what I would have done… If you see that happen, you stop. You say into the mic, ‘Let’s sort this out. Everybody, clear a hole. I’m still right here. I’m not stopping the show. But let’s figure it out. Let’s save our people here. Let’s save our friends and make sure everyone’s safe first.’ ‘Cause safety is first and foremost. These are the people that allow us to do what we do, allow us to stay alive, allow us to pay our bills, keep our families going.
“Metal shows have more intensity than anything in the world that I’ve ever seen, and I can tell what’s happening at a nighttime festival,” Heafy added. “So, I don’t know, man. I didn’t wanna watch anything or see anything — I’ve only read accounts — but I’m proud of the fact that we’ve been able to stop things and do right by our supporters or do right by people that aren’t even our supporters yet. It’s always the safety of the people that are coming out to the show; that is the job of the front person. You can’t put it all on security because they’re only ground level of the ground-level team. But if you can see what’s going on up here [from the stage], you have a lot of power with the microphone.”
Crowd safety experts have said that a “whole bunch of failures” led to the devastating events at Astroworld and that the blame cannot solely be placed on Travis Scott.
“There’s a whole bunch of failures that might be involved,” Professor Keith Still, an expert in crowd science from the University of Suffolk, told Newsweek. “More often than not, the people that check the plans [for large-scale festivals and concerts], the people that grant the licenses may not have the knowledge to assess the risks.”
Concert safety consultant Paul Wertheimer told the Los Angeles Times about the Astroworld tragedy: “This was preventable. The crowd was allowed to get too dense and was not managed properly. The fans were the victims of an environment in which they could not control.
“It doesn’t matter how many police officers and security were there if they’re not in the proper location and they’re not trained in crowd management,” Wertheimer added. “None of those people were in the crowd. Not enough of them were near the front barriers.”